Mysterious bar tippers give thousands to two Chicago servers
By STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter December 3, 2013 3:38PM
A $5,000 tip at a bar in South Bend. | Instagram photo
Updated: January 5, 2014 6:27AM
They like single-malt Scotch, some occasional pole-dancing, anonymity — and Jesus Christ.
And they really, really like their servers.
Since at least September, a group of jovial bons vivants has been splashing the cash in bars and restaurants from Chicago to San Francisco, to tiny Port Orchard in Washington State — dropping tens of thousands in tips along the way.
A lucky server at Paris Club in River North recently picked up a $5,000 tip, while a waitress at The Boundary Tavern & Grille in Wicker Park earned a $3,000 thank-you.
The tips typically come with two things: “TipsforJesus” — an Instagram user name — stamped or scribbled on the receipt, and a request that the lucky server keep his or her benefactors’ names secret.
Sarah, a server at The Boundary who didn’t want her last name used, said she was having “just a typical kind of night” earlier this fall, when a group of four men came in and sat down at a booth. They ordered Scotch, a few beers, some hors d’oeuvres. They were friendly, but certainly not loud or showy, the server said. The bill totalled $373.36.
When one of the men signed the receipt, the group asked their server to have a look at it. Sarah was stunned at the $3,000 tip.
“I closed it right away and said, ‘Guys, wow, this is too much,’” the server recalled. “They insisted, [saying], ‘Absolutely not. We meant you to have this.’”
The group asked only that Sarah not give out the name of the man signing for the bill.
“He was just so nice — kind of soft-spoken,” Sarah said. “They were all really nice. It was quite shocking to me.”
The group’s travels have taken them to sports bars in South Bend, posh restaurants in San Francisco and various venues in Hollywood, including Jumbo’s Clown Room — known for its generous drinks and pole-dancing.
Receipts, along with the tips, are posted on the TipsforJesus Instagram account, which offers almost no clues about the motivation for the generous tips, except perhaps this sentence: “Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.”